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Approved Research

Drug repurposing for elderly populations

Principal Investigator: Dr John Overington
Approved Research ID: 63132
Approval date: May 19th 2021

Lay summary

Drug repositioning, or the discovery of new therapeutic uses of drugs approved for a different medical condition, is a very cost and patient effective way of developing new medical benefit. There are many ways of hypothesising new uses of drugs, ranging from genetic sequencing approaches, metabolomics, gene expression studies, literature mining, and many others. Theses typically lead to a new use hypothesis that needs preclinical testing and validation prior to clinical study verification. Many drugs however have tolerability, safety and drug interaction issues that precludes their use in a new disease, and a relatively small subset of drugs is widely applicable in a new therapeutic setting.

We are specifically interested in in this study in developing a series of general predictive rules that allow the repositioning of exiting drugs in an elderly and aging population. Drug repositioning in an elderly population is challenging due to factors such as multimorbidity and polypharmacy (since drugs can adversely affect the action of other drugs), and in addition elderly patients tend to have liver and kidney function lower than in younger populations. The liver and kidney are key organs in drug response and safety, and many drugs have different doses or are contraindicated in elderly patients. We wish to use the UK-BioBank data to survey drugs currently used in ageing patients, and to build derived data that explicitly captures co-prescription/use of multiple distinct drugs. We will then derive a set of 'rules' to filter currently approved drugs with better potential for use in elderly populations.